Becoming a medical coder use to mean taking a class at a local community college or vocational school to learn the basics of coding. Taking the extra step of getting certified wasn’t a concern for most medical coders as the pay and status in the medical community wasn’t much different than non certified coders.
Those days have changed. And the reason for the change has been two fold. First, the reduction in the risk of an OIG audit. And second, an increase in insurance company payouts while still maintaining compliance.
In other words, code correctly so your professional gets paid what they should for the services provided.
When a medical coder is certified it gives employers the assurance of a baseline of skill proficiency when they hire a new employee. Let face the facts, if you can make it through a five hour and forty minute CPC exam the odds are you know your stuff and know how to manage your time too.
Take a minute to look at the situation from an employers point of view. The benefits of hiring a certified medical coder become obvious. But we usually look at employment from our point of view, not the employers. By putting yourself in the roll of hiring manager for a family practice or hospital it is easier to see the overwhelming benefits of being certified.
A certified medical coder is also less likely to under code or be non compliant. Healthcare professionals lose millions of dollars each year from procedures not being coded correctly. While this keeps them in compliance, it also leaves money on the table that should have been paid out.
Paying a certified medical coder $8k to $10k more per year (yes… this is the average increase in salary) than a non certified medical coder is a worth while investment for an employer. The ROI (return on investment) is high as they would improve revenue and reduce audit risk. This would more than offset the additional cost of a certified coder.
Smart coders also realize it gives them leverage and some bargaining power when interviewing for a new job. Specially if you already have experience in the medical field.